Cross Pollination

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Forage Superbowl Has Record Entries
The World Forage Analysis Superbowl had 469 forage samples vying for a chance to win more than $22,000 in cash prizes in seven forage categories, including brown midrib corn silage, standard corn silage, haylage, baleage, commercial hay, dairy hay and grass hay. “It is a credit to all forage growers that this contest has been able to grow and thrive while featuring the very best forages from around North America,” says Doug Harland of Dairyland Laboratories, Inc.  Held in conjunction with the World Dairy Expo, the contest compares forage samples on lab and visual analysis and herd production information. When the contest started in 1983, it featured two categories and had 58 entries. Since then, five categories have been added resulting in continuous growth and a record number of samples this year. The winners were announced at the Mycogen Seeds Forage Superbowl Awards Luncheon. The event is organized by Dairyland Laboratories, Inc., DairyBusiness Communications, Hay & Forage Grower, U.S. Dairy Forage Research Center, University of Wisconsin-Madison and World Dairy Expo.

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Vilsack ReAppoints Seed Panel
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the reappointment of four individuals to serve on the National Genetic Resources Advisory Council (NGRAC), a subcommittee of the National Agricultural Research, Extension, Education and Economics Advisory Board. The newly appointed and returning members of the NGRAC met Sept. 23-25 at Iowa State University’s Seed Science Center in Ames, Iowa.

The NGRAC is comprised of nine voting members and eight ex-officio members. Two-thirds of voting members are selected from the scientific community and one-third from the general public. The following members have been reappointed to a three-year term: Jane Dever, a professor of plant breeding at Texas AgriLife Research; Karen Moldenhauer, a professor and rice industry chair for variety development at the University of Arkansas; Mulumebet Worku, an animal scientist, professor and biotechnologist at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University; and Matthew Dillon, senior manager of agricultural programs and director of seed matters at the Clif Bar Company.

The focus of the September meeting was to evaluate and develop recommendations to ensure that USDA is serving the needs of all farmers by making sure that high-quality and diverse seed is available for farming operations of all types.

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A Call for Transparency
In September, the Illinois Crop Improvement Association called on the National Plant Diagnostic Network to allow access to laboratory results outside the given region. “While the diagnosis of diseases on corn and soybean samples from Puerto Rico has not yielded any exotic or unknown pests, I believe it’s important to allow regions to share pathology and pest information,” says Doug Miller, Illinois Crop Improvement Association CEO, in a letter to the NPDN referring to plant samples from Puerto Rico that were sent to the University of Illinois Plant Clinic under special circumstances. “There is an active shipping channel between the U.S. Mainland, Puerto Rico, Hawaii and Florida during the fall and spring. Plant breeders and parent seed producers produce more than one generation of seed per calendar year using the afore mentioned winter locations.” Miller says it’s counter-intuitive to restrict access to data among regions with active exchange of seed. “The lack of information could pose a risk to the corn and soybean industry for the U.S. and around the world,” he says. Miller encourages decision-makers to consider opening the database among regions to address the active seed channel.

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